Pork Rind Appreciation Day®, an annual celebration that takes place on the same day as the Big Game in February, traces its roots back more than a decade when Rudolph Foods orchestrated a groundbreaking initiative to establish an official Pork Rind Appreciation Day® in the US.
The porky phenomenon took off in 2012 when consumers were called on to cast their votes in favor of establishing a Pork Rind Appreciation Day®. The resounding response, with over one hundred of thousand Americans declaring their belief that pork rinds deserved their own holiday, caught the attention of Governor John Kasich, Ohio’s governor at the time, who officially endorsed the idea. To celebrate the occasion, Rudolph Foods made a substantial donation to Wounded Warriors in conjunction with the 1st Annual Pork Rind Appreciation Day®.
In 2013, the celebration added a contest element offering consumers the chance to win a party from Rudolph Foods and a new 50” Plasma TV. Dennis McKinnon, a Chicago Bears legend, served as the enthusiastic spokesperson, adding his gridiron gravitas to the event.
The following year, in 2014, the celebration continued with a flavorful twist as voters were asked to choose between Team Spicy and Team Smooth. Hall of Famer Lem Barney and the returning Dennis McKinnon led the charge, each representing a distinct pork rind flavor. This collaboration with Gridiron Greats became a recurring theme, reinforcing the event's commitment to charitable causes.
2015 saw the partnership with Icky Woods, known for his Geico 'cold cuts' commercial, as fans engaged in an interactive game for a chance to win cash and a year's supply of pork rinds. Each subsequent year brought new collaborations with NFL legends, from Bobby Bell in 2016 to Andre Reed in 2017, drawing attention to important issues affecting former athletes, such as head injuries and CTE.
The celebration in 2018 took a creative turn with the introduction of "Gridiron Groovin’," a game allowing fans to create their own signature touchdown dance with NFL legend Billy “White Shoes” Johnson. The promotion coincided with the NFL's decision to allow touchdown celebrations once again.
As the years progressed, Pork Rind Appreciation Day® evolved to reflect changes in the football landscape. In 2019,the contest focused on a "Get in with the Greats" game. The following years continued the tradition with contests like "The Great Comeback" in 2020 and "The Great Pigskin Spin" in 2022, adding unique spins to keep the celebration fresh and engaging.
In 2023, "Sacks for Snacks" took center stage, supported by Hall of Famer Carl Eller and Mike Golic. The innovative sweepstakes offered fans the chance to win cases of pork rinds equal to the number of quarterback sacks each week.
Pork Rind Appreciation Day®, born out of a grassroots movement and fueled by fan love for this crispy snack, has not only become a cherished tradition but also a vehicle for supporting charitable causes and bringing football enthusiasts together.
Be sure to celebrate our 15th year with us this year and enter our Pass the Pigskin giveaway, with a grand prize of $5,000 and a 15-month supply of Southern Recipe Small Batch pork rinds!